POLICE: Killers of Las Vegas cops harbored anti-government ideology
LAS VEGAS, June 9 (Reuters) - A married couple who shot two Las Vegas police officers to death in a weekend pizza parlor ambush before killing a bystander and themselves in a nearby Wal-Mart harbored anti-government ideologies and are believed to...
LAS VEGAS, June 9 (Reuters) - A married couple who shot two Las Vegas police officers to death in a weekend pizza parlor ambush before killing a bystander and themselves in a nearby Wal-Mart harbored anti-government ideologies and are believed to have acted alone, authorities said on Monday.
The suspects, identified as Jerad Miller, 31, and his 22-year-old wife, Amanda, expressed support in social media for renegade Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy, and the husband claimed to have been present at the standoff between federal agents and militia members at Bundy's ranch in April, police said.
Assistant Clark County Sheriff Kevin McMahill said Jerad Miller wrote in a Facebook posting he had been "kicked out" of the Bundy ranch because of his criminal history and background. McMahill added that investigators were still looking into the couple's ties to right-wing extremist groups.
He said police had not yet confirmed whether Jerad Miller had actually turned up at the Bundy ranch, the site of a high-profile April 12 confrontation between federal agents and Bundy supporters challenging a forced round-up of his cattle on public land.
The most recent entry left by Jerad Miller on his Facebook page, posted the day before the shooting, includes the message: "The dawn of a new day. May all of our coming sacrifices be worth it."
Amanda Miller's Facebook page contains photos of the couple dressed comic book villains The Joker and Harley Quinn, but does not indicate where or when the pictures were taken.
Local government records from Tippecanoe County in Indiana show the couple were married in September 2012 in the Lafayette, Indiana, area, and that Jerad Miller was charged with felony possession of marijuana in that county in 2010.
A YouTube video channel he established consists mostly of footage of his cats and of himself crying and asking his wife to visit him in jail.
Mark Pitcavage, director of investigative research for the Anti-Defamation League, which monitors hate groups in the United States, said it appears both Jerad and Amanda Miller were "right-wing anti-government extremists of the 'Patriot' movement variety, believing in all the common militia-type conspiracy theories."
McMahill said police investigators believe the pair harbored ideologies that equated the government and law enforcement with the Nazi movement.
At a news briefing on Monday, McMahill also revealed new details of the circumstances surrounding the fatal ambush of patrol officers Alyn Beck, 41, and Igor Soldo, 31, who were shot to death as they were eating lunch in a pizza parlor on Sunday.
After opening fire on the officers, the couple placed on top of Beck's body a replica of a Gadsden flag, the yellow-colored Revolutionary War-era banner that bears an image of a coiled snake and the slogan "Don't Tread on Me," McMahill said.
He said the suspects also threw a swastika symbol on top of Beck's body and pinned a note to Soldo that said the attack was "the beginning of the revolution," a phrase the couple also uttered to bystanders in the restaurant.
He said the couple then grabbed the officers' weapons and fled to the Wal-Mart, where Amanda Miller gunned down a bystander, Joseph Wilcox, 31, who was carrying his own concealed gun and had tried to confront Jerad Miller when the couple burst into the store shouting: "This is a revolution."
The couple exchanged gunfire with police as the suspects retreated to the rear of the store, with Amanda Miller ultimately shooting her spouse to death and taking her own life, McMahill said.